Living Beyond The Bounds of Co-dependence And Independence (Part I)
Growing up in Pakistan, Indian and Pakistani love songs were a part of everyday life for me. Most songs had an underlying message of, "If you are happy I am happy and if you are sad I am sad." Being the romantic that I was, I always thought this was perfect love.
I believed that if your happiness depended on your loved one you would do all you could to make them happy so you could be happy too. Not only that I also believed that that was the epidemy of selfless love. Now that I am older and a little wiser I can see the fatal flaw in this kind of thinking and behavior.
Human society has gone from co-dependence to total independence. Co-dependence says, "You make me happy" . Here the source of happiness always lies outside of us.
Emphasis on total independence means an individual or a unit (a corporation, an organization etc) functions on the premise, "only I matter". Looking at the society today, you can see how this kind of thinking leads to a culture of selfishness and bullying causing harm to others for personal gain.
When we look at both these ways of living we realize that in the end neither serves us as individuals or as a society. When we are codependent we are always waiting for others' approval, hoping they would do something to make us feel happy, wanted and desired.
On the other hand if we believe in total independence, we are caught in a vicious cycle of competition. We feel distrust towards others and always have to keep an eye out for those who might want to hurt us.
Although both of these human tendencies appear separate we often find ourselves oscillating between the two extremes. When we get tired of being codependent we begin marching to the drum of total independence.
But, when we get tired of the man eating man world of total independence we look around in the hopes that we would find someone who will rescue us from the jungle and make us feel safe and happy.
A lot of partnerships and marriages are born this way. Often such partnerships end up in breakup and divorce because we find out that no one can rescue us and so the cycle continues. Here, I would argue that being co-dependent (victim) or independent (survivor) are two sides of the same coin.
What if we could step out of being co-dependent and/or being independent and find a different way of living our lives? Is it even possible?
Yours in love, peace and gratitude
Shahina Lakhani RN MSN Author, Poet, Speaker, Holistic Life Change Strategist. She advocates using holistic strategies in personal empowerment, care of the sick, the dying and their loved ones. Shahina Lakhani has been a nurse for more than 25 years. She has worked as an educator, Nurse Practitioner and a Hospice Nurse. Her passion is to empower people to Live Powerfully and experience Wellbeing until their last breath.
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